Democratization’s Risk Premium: Partisan and Opportunistic Political Business Cycle Effects on Sovereign Ratings in Developing Countries
We use partisan and opportunistic political business cycle (“PBC”) considerations to develop a framework for explaining election-period decisions by credit rating agencies (“agencies”) publishing developing country sovereign risk-ratings (“ratings”). We test six hypotheses derived from the framework with 482 agency ratings for 19 countries holding 39 presidential elections from 1987-2000. We find that ratings are linked to the partisan orientation of incumbents facing election and to expectations of incumbent victory. Consistent with the framework, rating effects are sometimes greater for right-wing compared to left-wing incumbents, perhaps, because partisan PBC considerations with right-wing (left-wing) incumbents reinforce (counteract) opportunistic PBC considerations.
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